Current and Former City Leaders Refer to Fatal Carjacking as “Pizza Kitchen’ Moment

Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -New Orleans councilmembers say the 4 juveniles arrested in Monday’s carjacking death should be tried for murder as adults. They say the community outrage has been overwhelming, and they hope to channel that outrage into change.

“I’ve never seen so many people upset and feeling like this could be a potential tipping point in the city,” said councilmember Joe Giarusso.

In a city where carjackings have been on the rise for the past year and a half, a 73-year-old woman’s death draws anger.

“I’m moving out in nine days, so the countdown is going,” said Mid-City resident, and witness, Austin Northcutt.

“A couple of people believe this is this time’s Louisiana pizza kitchen,” said Giarusso.

In 1996, the murders of three people at a French Quarter pizza shop Sparked protests and galvanized the city to do more to fight crime. 26 years later some believe Monday’s murder of a grandmother, Linda Frickey, after being dragged beneath her own SUV by four teenage carjackers, could prompt change.

“People are angry and sad,” said councilmember Helena Moreno.

All four of the teenagers arrested for Frickey’s killing had been arrested before and councilmembers Believe they should be charged as adults.

“Yes, I do believe that the DA should consider prosecuting them as adults,” said Moreno.

They are also upset that four dangerous juveniles slipped through the cracks, and they are now calling for an audit of the city’s juvenile justice system.

“What’s not working we will scrap, and whatever is working we’ll have to beat them up,” said Moreno.

But a former New Orleans police chief, involved in previous reforms, says the council should do more.

“This is a pizza kitchen moment but it’s four years in the making. The crime stats have gotten worse and worse for murders and carjackings,”

Serpas says the city needs more officers involved in proactive patrolling.

“It’s long past time for the City Council to direct the police department to reduce up to 50 percent of the calls for service that have no police component,” said Serpas.

Depending on who you talk to, they are between 200 and 500 officers short of where they should be and councilmembers want changes to try and boost police ranks.

“That department has been properly funded. I would just want to make sure that the money is flowing where it needs to,” said councilman Joe Giarusso. He’s calling for the removal of hiring roadblocks, and restructuring of pay and promotions to keep experienced officers, as the Frickey family mourns, and citizen frustration grows.

The City’s experienced 43 murders by this time last year. The number is already up to 62, so far this year. Councilmember Giarusso says the NOPD Is funded for 1400 officers and needs to work harder to get to that number. But he says in this case, arrests were made, but other elements of the system broke down.

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